On November 12, Bishop Rickel led us in a glorious consecration service. After the many months of waiting for the occupancy of our building, the consecration brought all our hard work, anxiety, and waiting to completion. The service began outside under the eaves as our guitarists led us in a joyful song with an extra verse written by Mark Westin. Bishop Rickel pounded on the front door of the church with his heavy wooden crozier and said, “Let the doors be opened!” We streamed in, singing, “Christ is made the sure foundation,” one of the great foundational hymns of the Episcopal Church.
Using copious amounts of incense, our Bishop traversed the church, blessing the font, the lectern, and the piano. He sprinkled us with holy water, saying, “Remember your baptism!” It was a light and joyful moment.
After the lessons, he gave us this advice about the building in his sermon: “Wear it out!” Sarah Rogers thanked the many people who made the building possible, and then Bishop Greg anointed the altar. As the music from our newly blessed piano built in waves and crescendos, the Bishop poured olive oil in a large ‘X’ on the top of the altar. Using large motions, he made the sign of the cross in the oil and spread the oil all over the altar with clean towels. Then he washed the altar with soapy water and dried it using more towels. It was a powerful action. Bishop Rickel then celebrated the Holy Eucharist on our freshly-blessed altar.
Among our guests were neighboring Episcopal clergy, who offered a tongue-in-cheek blessing, promising “not to covet” our new roof that doesn’t leak, our unblemished rugs, and our freshly paved parking lot. Also present were members of New Fellowship Church, the two previous Vicars of St. Antony’s, and our architect, Steve Rice.
Afterward we stayed for an elegant and generous reception of cheeses, crackers, meats, fruit and wine. It was a fitting end to a glorious evening. My thanks to all who made this evening such a memorable occasion.